Anna Van Helsing – Monster Huntress
Anna Van Helsing-Monster Huntress from Rabcat takes you on a howling journey to Dracula’s castle to fight for his treasures locked away in the secret crypt. Join Anna in her attempt to banish Dracula and loot his plunder once and for all.
A 3×5 reel 25-line game with expanding wilds, respins, added wilds and free games.
Read on for the full review.
|SLOT FEATURES||Expanding wilds, Respins, Added Wilds, Free Games.|
|RELEASE DATE||15th April 2021|
|GAME PROVIDER||Rabcat via MGS|
|SLOT TYPE||Video Slot|
|REELS, ROWS, PAYLINES||3 x 5 reel, 25 Paylines|
|BET LEVELS||£0.25 – £150|
|SCATTER SYMBOL||Yes: Blood Moon|
|WILD SYMBOL||Yes: Multiple Wild Types|
|RETURN TO PLAYER||96.18%|
- If Anna lands anywhere on reels 1, 2, and/or 3, the symbol expands to cover all positions on the reel. After wins are paid, a bonus respin is awarded where the expanding wild remains sticky.
- During the respin, one or more wolves (up to 1 per reel) may be awarded.
- At random, the added wolves may expand to cover all positions on the reel.
- 8 Free Games are won if any 3 or more scatters land.
- During free games, Anna wilds are replaced with Dracula wilds. If Dracula lands on reel 3, it expands to cover all positions on the reel, transforms into Anna wild and then all high tier symbols in view are also changed to wilds.
Anna Van Helsing has 11 well-presented symbols, consisting of 4 high-tier symbols with solid borders (these come into play in the free games), 3 mid-tier symbols and 4 royals. The game could have been improved with 4 suits instead of royals, as 4 suits are a complete set.
42% of pays at bet-or-less is indicative of a higher win hit rate in this slot. It’s nice to see a solid bottom end as well, where the minimum 5 of a kind pays 2x.
This Dracula slot has a decent audio track that’s pleasant to listen to and is not distracting from gameplay. The free games tune builds intensity and anticipation. However, the scatter hit sounds and wild hit sounds play regardless of a trigger potential, creating a jumbling of audible messages that alert you to a non-event. This becomes very distracting as you’re constantly looking up to find nothing has occurred.
Playability is mixed. There are some interesting pros, but these are marred with shortcomings. Overall, the game is fun with numerous elements of surprise. It was pleasing to find a nice marriage of features with a high line game especially when Expanded Wilds are concentrated to the left, at the business end of the reels. Expanded Wilds award a respin with the wild held in place, and occasionally wilds are gifted which may also expand. Lovely.
The real issue comes when the free games are triggered. Normally, free games are a time to sit back, relax and watch the wins. But, in Anna Van Helsing’s free spins, we need to relearn the game as the developer has changed the core rules that we learn while playing the base game. The wild symbol has been replaced with a different character, although it still expands, the resulting respin has been removed, and a symbol replacement feature has been added if it lands on reel 3. The free games are a completely different feature set from the base game.
Developers should know not to change the condition of key elements from the base game. Yes, they should be elaborated upon, but not changed. The base game is a platform for us to learn the rules and understand the behaviour of the game, while the free games are a condensed elaboration of the base game where the core rules are maintained. In Anna Van Helsing, we are awarded 8 brief free games, where what’s learned has to be unlearned and relearned in a very short time.
Another oddity, during the base game, all wins are shown in a gold font which is nice. In free games they are shown in silver first, then become gold when the x2 multiplier is applied. The impression this gives is that the base game’s wins, which are already gold, are being halved in the free games because they are shown in silver and then only turned to back to gold when they are doubled. This of course is not true, but it is a minor messaging oversight by the developer as they’re trying to emphasise the 2x multiplier.
- Feature Hit: 1 in 200 (estimated)
- Win Hit: 1 in 6 (estimated)
The stated max win of 1,500x is achieved by 5x Wilds appearing on all 25 lines in the free games, but for this to occur we need (from a single spin):
- A Dracula wild on reel 3, and
- All subsequent reels to contain only high-tier symbols in all positions.
Win potential is difficult to understand owing to the fact that the free game rules change so drastically from the base game.
- The real surprise comes when a gifted wild expands, even on reels 4 and 5, where expanding wilds do not naturally appear!
- Expanded Wilds coupled with high lines.
- A strong paytable with decent low-tier symbols.
- The win value hangs in the win meter a little into the next spin, making wins easy to read during quick play.
- Change of core rules and behavior from base game to free games. The Expanded Wild is changed from Anna Van Helsing to Dracula who expands BUT does not award a respin! Reel 3 has an introduced highlight, in the form of a throne, acting as a special reel for the new Dracula Wilds. If a Dracula Wild lands on reel 3 it expands but does not pay. It then transforms into Anna who expands and then changes any visible high-tier symbol into Anna Wilds, which then do not expand. In short:
- Change of wild from Anna to Dracula,
- Removal of respins in free games,
- Addition of a symbol replacement feature.
- In the Base Game, single wilds are sometimes gifted during the reel-spin, adding a nice surprise. However, after a few occurrences, you can clearly see a wild spinning in behind the ‘gifted’ wild, which reduces the believability of the event somewhat, as it was an event that was already going to happen. Similarly, during a respin, a wild hit pulse is always seen in the bottom position, emanating from behind the expanded wild, coupled with a special hit sound. This tells us it was already going to happen. These little subtleties could have been addressed to help lift the integrity of the game.
- The Wolf Wild doesn’t stand out enough in contrast to the other symbols.
- The silver win numeral font used in free games.
- The use of special sounds on wilds and scatters that are not in a win or cannot trigger a feature.
- Potential zero win in free games. The absence of a triggering win combined with a low number of free games without retrigger and a relatively high win hit rate.
- Removal of scatters during free games aka no retriggers, leaves a distinct gap in the reels.
- Use of monotone royals, intended to help mid and high-tier symbols stand out in the reels. They however inadvertently increase fatigue. We use colour and shape to recognise matches and in the absence of colour we need to focus on shape alone to read winning combinations.
Anna Van Helsing – Monster Huntress resembles a confused game. It could be an expanding wilds free gamer but it could also be a transforming symbols game. Basically, Rabcat could have created two worthy games from this design. The free games are still worth the wait with the higher hit rate but might leave you a little bewildered trying to understand how it happened.
Anna Van Helsing – Monster Huntress gets 51 Spins out of 100 based on the following ratings:
|RUN FOR MONEY||50|